The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Arizona may shut down any more attempted restrictions on Farmers Branch apartment renters.
The court struck down most of an Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants. Farmers Branch wanted to make all renters get citizenship clearance before they could move in. But David Hinojosa, with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said the Farmers Branch law was thrown out in lower court, and the Supreme Court ruling just confirms that.
"I think i’s pretty clear that what Farmers Branch has done is illegal. It’s unconstitutional," he said.
Still, Farmers Branch Mayor Bill Glancy says the outcome of the renter’s ordinances was worth it. He said even though they were never enforced, the initiative reduced the number of illegal immigrants in the city and the schools.
"I think the results have had a positive impact. We’re finding in our schools, that our schools are better today," Glancy said.
"We don’t have as many in-and-out kids coming through the class. And that’s always been disruptive, and a lot of that happened, they tell us, when a lot of illegal immigrants move through the school system."
The Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District doesn’t track illegal immigrants, so it cannot confirm the Mayor’s claim. A spokesperson said the district has improved year after year, independent of the failed anti illegal immigrant laws. Glancy said one young mother wanted to know if she were asking too much for the city to be like it was forty years ago. At the time the city was less diverse.
"If the action they took back seven or five years ago brings that to be, then I think the money was well spent," he said.
MALDEF’S Hinojosa has a different view. He says if immigrants were scared away from Farmers Branch because the city violated the constitution, what kind of message is that?
"I think it's really sad, if that's what the Mayor thinks. This is the leader and the spokesperson for all people in Farmers Branch," Hinojosa said. "And if he thinks that the way to get people out and the way you can treat people is to discriminate against them and to exceed his powers under the constitution, I think that sends a really, really sad message."
The city’s legal bill for defending the anti-illegal immigrant measures is nearly $5 million.